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Terry McLaurin humbled, ready to work after signing extension

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Terry McLaurin was training in Florida when he got the news that he and the entire Washington Commanders had been waiting for: after weeks of negotiations, he was staying in the DMV.

And of course, as one does when a life-altering contract becomes a reality, McLaurin shed a few tears as he reflected on reaching one of the biggest milestones in his career. 

"I just had that moment to myself where I was like, 'I'm really here,'" McLaurin said. "Like I really got to this moment, because it's just so hard to get to this moment." 

The extension ensures that McLaurin, who has amassed 3,090 receiving yards heading into his fourth season, will remain with the Commanders for the foreseeable future. It's a testament to everything that McLaurin has aspired to be, both professionally and competitively, as well as a representation of how Washington views him as a pillar to the franchise's future. 

It hasn't blinded him to one critical fact, though: he's only just getting started. 

"It reinvigorates me even more," he said. "I'm excited to get back to work."

Take a behind-the-scenes look at Terry McLaurin signing his extension with the Washington Commanders. (Joe Noyes/Washington Commanders)

McLaurin was all smiles as he walked around the team facility after signing his extension. He should be happy, because he's earned it. He's one of 35 players in NFL history to record 3,000-plus receiving yards in his first three seasons, and his 222 career receptions are the most through three seasons in franchise history.

He's also one of 10 NFL receivers to have at least 220 receptions, 3,000 receiving yards and 15 receiving touchdowns since 2019.

Still, it's an "extremely humbling" moment for McLaurin, because the deal is about more than what he's done on the field.

"It says a lot about not only this organization and their belief in me, but I says a lot about the person that I've tried to be since day one being here, handling myself professionally and being a competitor and a leader and just being everything they want in a player," McLaurin said. "The more people you can have that are leaders, competitive, unselfish, great players, you're gonna have a really strong culture and a really strong team."

McLaurin is also aware of how the deal affects the people around him. His family, which he called "my backbone" in a letter posted on Twitter, has seen their future change forever because of the deal. They have supported him since his days at Cathedral High School, and he knows his extension is just as much a product of what they have provided him with as what he's done on the field.

"A lot comes with that," McLaurin said of the deal. "You just want to continue to make those people who believe in you proud, both personally and professionally. That's my biggest mindset. I just want to continue to make those people proud and make myself proud."

McLaurin has held himself to a high standard for his entire playing career. That bar has now been raised even higher because of the extension. McLaurin isn't shying away from the added expectations. In fact, it sounds like he's looking forward to meeting them.

McLaurin views the extension as an opportunity to improve, not just as a receiver, but also as a leader to help the Commanders reach a Super Bowl. He knows there is a long road ahead of the team to make that happen, but he wants to make sure they're on the right path towards making that happen.

The Washington Commanders and Terry McLaurin have agreed to a contract extension. Here are the top photos from McLaurin's 2021 season. (Emilee Fails, Karlee Sell/Washington Commanders)

As for the on-field work, McLaurin already has plans for that. He's going to begin building chemistry with Carson Wentz this week so that he can come into training camp ready to contribute. He wants to start those preparations as soon as possible because of how excited he is for this iteration of the team.

"I just think the camaraderie of the best things I love about football," McLaurin said. "We have such a great group of guys in that locker room, from vets to young guys. And I'm really excited to see how we gel and mesh together and put our imprint on this year's Washington team, the first Commanders team. It's really history and we have a chance to do some great things, but we know the work that's gonna take for that as well."

McLaurin believes the Commanders have the personnel and depth to win games, make a run for the NFC East and make the playoffs. That alone is enough to get him psyched for the 2022 season. All he wants to do is be part of it, and for him, that means being the Commanders' top receiver.

And if there's anything McLaurin has proven over the years, it's that he has no problem putting in the work.

"I'm gonna continue to give my all like I have and try to up my leadership and my ability to another level."

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